In most growing organizations, issues with customer service begin as soon as more than three people take care of it.
Processes and policies are implemented for the effective and efficient handling of follow-up calls, complaints, returns, and the like. Up to a certain point, this is beneficial for the customer: faster response times, more consistent answers, higher quality of service.
However, as the customer base grows, so do the call scripts, policies, hierarchies, different service levels, and so on. The effect is that the customer deals with policies instead of people who understand his issues and requests.
Instead of “Sorry for causing you trouble with our product, I will see what I can do for you,” the client hears “Our customer care policy says we cannot refund your expenses.” Instead of “we care,” he hears “our policies do or do not foresee.”
This policy focus in customer service is one of the most frequent reasons for silently lost clients
(silently, because most just turn away without complaining).
The root cause of policies taking precedence over people is neither the product’s complexity nor the company’s size, but this:
- The customer care staff are not empowered to deal with customers as peers. They have no decision rights and need to check everything with their supervisors.
- Employees are not fully committed to the values, mission, and vision of the organization.
- The staff are obliterated in a flood of policies, scripts, processes, and the like. Many unlearn what customer service is meant to be: to serve the client in the best possible way.
As a leader, as long as you do not have excellent customer service in place, there is no point in complaining about tough economic times and low revenues or profits.
Act now: decrease the policy overload and revitalize a customer-centric mindset.
This post is from our Friday noon memo #106. Interested in regular updates? Sign up here.
© Copyright by New Pace Consulting SA, 2011. All rights reserved.